Unipart’s Digital Approach to Automotive Part Traceability

May 2024With the complexities of modern manufacturing, every component holds immense importance. Meaning even the most minor oversight can cascade into significant disruptions. Imagine a scenario where the absence of a serial number on a automotive triggers a domino effect of delays, increased costs, and customer dissatisfaction. 

Traceability is vital in the Automotive industry as it ensures the quality and safety of parts with defect reduction and recall management1. The close monitoring and documenting of each aspect of vehicle manufacturing and assembly processes can also enhance efficiency with traceability systems, leading to a 30% reduction in production defects, resulting in considerable cost savings2.

This was the challenge that a multinational automotive and clean energy company faced in 2018, prompting a reevaluation of its processes to ensure 100% traceability and enhance customer satisfaction. Missing serial numbers on motors led to prolonged traceability processes for customers, causing production and delivery delays. Additionally, the uncertainty surrounding defective or broken parts resulted in time-consuming and costly replacements, escalating production costs for customers.

Unipart China aimed to revolutionise the company’s approach, guaranteeing complete traceability of every motor part. Our objective was to implement a streamlined process for tracking, detecting, and classifying motor parts, ultimately reducing costs and turnaround times for customers while increasing motor availability.

Our Approach

Unipart China embarked on a comprehensive strategy to reconstruct its operations:

  • Standardised Process: A standard parts return and replacement process was formulated and rigorously enforced, encompassing every aspect from return initiation to defective parts processing Car engine parts. Closeup 3d render
  • Specialised Infrastructure: Specialised warehouses and operation teams were established and equipped with state-of-the-art digital management systems for each process update. This enabled seamless tracking and management of motor parts throughout their journey
  • End-to-End Digitalisation: Every process was digitised and synchronised with the warehouse system, from inbound logistics to outbound shipments. This ensured real-time updates and thorough checks at every stage.
  • Customer-Centric Approach: Unipart swiftly transferred corresponding materials to designated locations once a customer confirmed parts. Customer instructions were meticulously followed, optimising processes such as packaging, repair, and transportation.
  • Proactive Forecasting: Regular forecasting exercises were conducted to estimate inbound and outbound frequencies, packaging requirements, and shipment information. This proactive approach minimised traceability and turnaround times for reversed parts.
  • Improved Timeliness: Motor return and replenishment processes were significantly expedited, enhancing overall production efficiency

Our Key Achievements

  • Real-Time Communication: Real-time updates on the return process empowered customers to adjust production schedules promptly, mitigating potential disruptions
  • Mitigated Losses: The negative impact of defective parts was effectively neutralised, reducing customer losses in an earlier phase and enhancing satisfaction
  • Cost Reduction: By streamlining processes and enhancing traceability, Unipart reduced material costs for customers, thereby enhancing market competitiveness
  • Environmental Benefits: By promoting motor recycling and reuse through serial number supplementation, Unipart contributed to energy conservation and environmental protection efforts

Unipart China’s journey with the company towards enhancing motor traceability stands as a testament to the transformative power of a customer-centric, digitally-driven approach. Through meticulous planning, innovative infrastructure, and proactive communication, Unipart China helped the automotive company overcome supply chain challenges. As industries continue to evolve, this success story provides valuable insights into supply chain optimisation and customer satisfaction.

  1. Importance of Traceability in the Automotive Industry – October 2023
  2. International Journal of Engineering, Science and Technology Vol. 15 No. 4 – October 2023